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Confessions of a red-hot Mac believer

Posted on 14 May 2011, 19:42

I’m talking about the cult of Apple in London next Wednesday, 18 May, so as an appetiser, here’s my Mac testimony.

When I bought my first Mac (the Macintosh SE, with its colossal 20Mb hard disk and 9 inch black and white screen) in 1988, it felt like coming to Jesus all over again. I’d spent the past year working with Macs in the design agency where I was at the time, but now at last I was making my own personal decision, asking Steve Jobs to change my life, becoming part of the Apple Family.

Like every disciple, I knew I would need to renounce the Devil (Bill Gates) and all his works (Microsoft and the PC), and become a fervent Mac evangelist. Even today, 23 years later, I still have a devout hatred for PCs and their clunky interfaces, and a zealous desire to witness to others about the blessings of Mac.

Although I’m naturally thrilled about the missionary success of Apple, which has seen it lay claim to the whole of our technological lives, with phones, music players and tablets headlining an impressive product list, in my heart I still yearn for those early days when I was one of the chosen few. When I was a red-hot Mac believer. How blessed was I to wake up each morning to the joyous startup chimes and the Happy Mac icon!

If Apple is a religion, what kind of religion is it? Umberto Eco whimsically remarked in 1994 that ‘the world is divided between users of the Macintosh computer and users of MS-DOS compatible computers… I am firmly of the opinion that the Macintosh is Catholic and that DOS is Protestant.’

And it’s true that Steve Jobs is a good stand-in for the Pope, dressed in black turtleneck rather than white robes, but issuing Encyclicals and Bulls in the absolutist Roman style. But when I think about the cult of Apple, it’s more complex than Catholicism. It’s a faith that’s as preachy as Billy Graham. As ascetic as the Desert Fathers and Mothers. As hooked on miracles and spectacle as Benny Hinn. As Manichean as… er… the Manichees. And as smug as Alpha.

I’m going to be exploring all this next Wednesday, 18 May at 7.30pm, at Apple on Apple, the 11th Apple forum hosted and run by Kester Brewin. Just come along, grab a pint and some food and join in the discussion upstairs at The Betsey Trotwood, 56 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3BL, close to Farringdon station.

There will naturally be an Apple Mac relic at the event, for veneration by the faithful.

Photo: Danamania

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Oh dear. I wonder what that makes me? As a Linux user, I suspect I must be equivalent to a animalistic frog-worshipper.

Howard, Mon 16 May, 19:44

Woke this morning pondering and challenging your Mac Catholicism versus PC Protestantism. Surely the Mac requires no priestly intercession cf the third party maintenance type. WYSIWYG is the liturgy of Mac, there is little point worrying about anything beyond that which has already been revealed, it won’t work. Mac is sufficient. However PC will always prompt that if you transgress there are always further works you can attempt to seek correction, holding out hope that is ultimately fruitless. Your ‘pathway is not complete’ always requires expert mediation and confession. For the common man Mac satisfies, for the seeker after complex mystery PC holds many hidden levels of purgatory and pain, for ever.

Krattie, Sun 15 May, 16:36

Good, Simon, but no cigar – for you have failed to tell us if you have ever personally converted any PC infidels to Mac. And what of your family? If your religion doesn’t work at home…

Steve G, Sun 15 May, 14:46

Simon, I have my relic in the attic too. But it’s not alone, it’s part of a reliquary of apostolic zealotry, in other traditions, some perhaps even false prophets. There’s my Palm 575 handheld device, the Jesuit. With him there are Palm Treos, that mysterious trinity of phone, pda and mp3. One of them the Treo Pro flirted with non conformity, Windows mobile. Then there are fragments of the Sony Ericsson cult, the P800 and P900. Aaah, the fruitless search for the truly intuitive in the knowledge that one was committing the sin of pluralism. In the end I was forced to admit that the Mac was either the truth or the most dangerous gadget ever to have lived.

Krattie, Sat 14 May, 21:21

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